Skip to content

Irish Brigade

The story of the 38th (Irish) Brigade in the Second World War

Faugh a Ballagh        Nec Aspera Terrent         Quis Separabit


War Diaries – 11th to 15th April 1943


11th April

Brigade HQ – BEJA.

1 RIrF and 6 Innisks were still in position and 1 RIrF sent coy to 420523.

0930 200 infantry sighted going north east. Not engaged in case own troops. But must have been enemy.

1000 Cannon fighter attacked 6 Innisks 4447.

1100 Letter received from 78 Division forwarding First Army sitrep, praising the work of the troops in the recent offensive.

1315 10 bombs near command post 420455.

1700 Brigade Commander went to Divisional HQ.

1730 Hurricanes attacked Depienne aerodrome.

1930 1 RIrF and 6 Innisks began to withdraw to reserve area 3939.

2330 Both bttns reported to be in position.


1 RIrF – MAHDI.

0300 Patrol of 1 platoon from A Coy to 410376 and thence to take up defence position on pt 333 to prevent enemy using the roads running west to east. Patrol returned in the evening with nothing to report.

Some German equipment was found during the day, bit otherwise nothing of interest occurred.

2000 Bttn moved back to rest area between Plateau Farms in the gully 3839 on foot. The move was carried out without incident.


6 Innisks – MAHDI.

Transport bringing up blankets, greatcoats, food and water could not find the bttn, who spend a very cold night.

0500 A/Tk guns, MMG and Mortars are sited and put into position at first light.

0830 LO arrived from Black Watch and gave their position as area 4649 with role of guarding about 35 Churchill tanks.

0900 CO, who went to Brigade about 0800, came back with Brigadier. We are ordered to stay where are with role of collecting any enemy moving east from drive being carried out by 4 Division, who were making for Sidi Nisr.

Coys found much enemy booty during the day include complete Coy stores of 100 pairs of boots, 100 shirts, underclothes and mosquito nets. IO and Signals Officer located two enemy cars (6 wheelers), which were later brought in. Orders were received to evacuate the farm after dark and return to area Plateau Farm and go into reserve. This bttn to cover RIrF out, who are to…. at 1930hrs.

2045 Bttn had covered out the RIrF and marched the eight miles back in tight order. Small packs and platoon weapons (less one bren gun platoon) being put on vehicles.

During the day, the bttn area was bombed and sustained 3 casualties (1 dead and two wounded).

2330 Bttn all in.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Frank Westerman, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.



12th April

Brigade HQ – OUED ZARGA.

Lieut FJA Clarke. 1 RIrF posted to HQ 78 Division as LO.

Brigade IO visited 6 Innisks and 1 RIrF to get story of fighting at first hand.


1 RIrF – REST AREA.

Lieut PJ Slattery and Lieut PJ Verlin rejoined the bttn. A quiet day with nothing to report.

1200 CO went to a conference at Brigade: Bttn was ordered to move into Divisional reserve at Chaouach 5140 under command of Division.

1600 CO gave out orders for impending move.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Walter Corless, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – PLATEAU FARM.

Bttn is told it will probably be in this rest area for about four days.

A day of make and mend. IO and Signals Officer go out at first light and salvage equipment including the two enemy vehicles.

All bttn get bath in stream.

0230 CO attends conference at Brigade HQ.

1800 CO sees all officers for first time and explains his policy and plans for training programme for next four days.

All vehicles go back to B Echelon for maintenance


2 LIR.

0800 Carrier exercise with Signal platoon.



13th April

Brigade HQ – OUED ZARGA.

0530 1 RIrF moved to area Chaouach in accordance with Brigade OO No 18.

78 Division OO No 8 was received, expressing the intention to attack and capture Djebel Tanngoucha (5645).

Copy of 5 Corps letter on “engaging tanks at night with A/Tk guns” was sent to bttns. The most successful method was found to be the employment of bombs illuminating 2” mortar.

1000 Brigade Commander visited 6 Innisks and then to 2 LIR (area Le Kef) and remained there night 13/14 April.

Lieut Harrison was sent to 12 Brigade to obtain news of our right flank.


1 RIrF – CHAOUACH.

0400 Bttn move on foot to area 5140.

0930 Bttn arrived in new area. Troops marched up well but there were a few stragglers.

The remainder of the day was spent resting and preparing for a possible battle.

Quiet night – nothing to report.


6 Innisks – PLATEAU FARM.

Day of make and mend and training. Slight bombing of bttn area.


2 LIR.

Lieutenant D Sutherland posted to 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers.

1600 Battalion to move under command of 38 Brigade.



14th April

Brigade HQ – OUED ZARGA.

Information was received that 2 LIR would rejoin the Brigade forthwith.

0645/0845 Enemy planes flew low over this HQ and were engaged. One plane appeared to have been hit.

1030 SC and Signals Officer went to HQ 78 Division 471412.

1545 1 RIrF (with 40 mules allotted) went to under command 11 Brigade.

Night 2 LIR moved from Le Kef to Chaouach under command 11 Brigade.


1 RIrF – CHAOUACH.

A quiet day.

1600 Adjutant went to HQ 11 Brigade to receive more move orders. Bttn ordered to move at dusk to Brigade assembly area 540443. Troops to march, ammunition, rations and water to be carried on mule.

1700 IO and company recce groups move forward.

2000 Bttn marches off.

2300 Bttn arrives and digs in at new area. Mule point established at Kelbine 533430.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Ronald Tickell, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – PLATEAU FARM.

Training. Much air activity both our own and enemy.

1845 Warning order from Brigade that we would be moving up to area Chaouach J5140 tomorrow night with Brigade HQ to join 1 RIrF. 2 LIR are moving straight up tonight from their rest area.


2 LIR.

1800 Battalion move by TCV to area Chaouach 5240. Arrived 2200 hrs 15 May temporarily under command of 11th Brigade.

Captain Neely goes to US Division as Liaison Officer.



15th April

Brigade HQ – OUED ZARGA.

0930 Commander and LO went to Divisional HQ

1535 Brigade OO No 19 was issued expressing the intention “38 (Irish) Brigade will relieve 11 Brigade in the Tanngoucha area.”

2030 Brigade HQ and 6 Innisks (for whom TCVs had been provided moved via Toukabeur to area Chaouach (5140).

2100 Arrived new location 522404.

Lieut GE Cole RUR was posted from 2 LIR to this HQ as LO.

Night 2 LIR moved up to relieve 2 Lancashire Fusiliers area Djebel Bettiour 5444. The position was fairly difficult to take over as 2 LF were repelling an enemy night attack. After this, however, the relief was accomplished.

1 RIrF attacked Djebel Ang (5445) and Tanngoucha.

They took objectives pt 668 (5445) and pt 622 (5645) and patrolled offensively to pt 620 (5645).


1 RIrF – 540443

Lieut WA Teed, Canadian Army, returned to the UK. Lieut WG Dunn joined the bttn.

0500 Fairly heavy mortaring of bttn area. Unobserved fire very scattered and inaccurate.

1400 CO and O Group called to a conference.

Bttn ordered to attack Djebel el Ang 5445, Djebel Tiour and pt 622 561456.

2045 Bttn formed up on the start line which was the west slope of Djebel el Ang. Some enemy was reported on the top. D Company was the forward left hand company with A Coy on the right. Command group with C Coy followed behind them. Bttn mules followed in rear. Bttn swept over Djebel el Ang and then swung right over a small saddle to approach Kel el Tiour from the north west. Bttn advanced, keeping well up to our own artillery barrage.While waiting for the barrage to lift, a few shells dropped short, with the result that Lieut PJ Slattery lost his life, and Captain DL Jefferies MC was wounded. Both these officers being in A Coy, Captain RLG Wood was ordered to take command of the company. The bttn continued its otherwise successful advance and consolidated with A Coy at the end of the Kef at 555456, D Coy 557455, with one platoon on the reverse slope of pt 622. C Coy 553455 with one platoon on pt 659. B Coy and Bttn HQ at 551453. The bttn was in position by 2330hrs. The mules arrived with ammunition, picks, shovels and companies began digging in.

The Battalion’s account here.

Died on this Day:

Fusilier Henry Wise, Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Lieutenant Philip Slattery, Royal Irish Fusiliers.


6 Innisks – PLATEAU FARM.

1415 CO and 2 in command go to Brigade to get orders from move from Brigade Major.

1500 CO hold O Group conference. Bttn is to go into Brigade reserve area Chaouach J5140. Marching personnel to leave at 1900hrs by track junction: 445394-477410-Toukabeur-Chaouach, only the minimum transport transport to go.

1845 Message received TCVs would report at 1900hrs to lift bttn. Our own transport and TCVs to go by same route leaving at 1930hrs with Brigade transport in front of column. Route same as march route.

2030 As TCVs have not arrived, Brigade and own transport leave.

2110 TCVs arrive and bttn now lined up along to Plateau Farm 387392.

2200 Bttn moves off in order Bttn HQ, A, B, C, D.

2300 Head of column arrives at de-busing pt and marches about 2 miles to assembly area 522407.

2315 CO sees Brigadier at 11 Brigade HQ. Two coys are ordered to picket road leading to assembly area.


2 LIR.

Battalion to take over positions from 1 RIrF; F to move at 1730 hrs, E Company 532447 – F Company 548448 – G Company 536451 – H Company and Battalion HQ 546453.

1730 Battalion moves off – Order of march E, G, H, Battalion HQ F, 2 MMGs to E and G Companies – 2 carriers to E G & H Companies – 1 carrier each to Battalion HQ & F Company.

2000 Column mortared by enemy in area 543433

2015 H, F & Battalion HQ fired on by RIrF as they approached position.

2230 Battalion established on all positions.

2250 Battalion positions attacked by apparently 1 Company of Germans.

Lieutenant RG Wilkin attached to No-1 CRU.


Scroll To Top